Study finds large percentage of farmers are being denied access to popular conservation programs

A new study finds nearly 70 percent of farmers who applied for two of USDA’s most popular conservation programs over the past decade were rejected.

Michael Happ with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says the report examined farmer application rate of approvals for the Environmental Quality Incentives and Conservation Stewardship programs.

“So spinning it a different way, only about 31 percent of farmers who applied to EQUIP and only about 42 percent of farmers who applied to CSP were awarded contracts.”

He tells Brownfield those percentages are even lower in some major agricultural states like Minnesota, where only 14 percent of farmers were awarded CSP contracts.

Happ points to a lack of funding as the primary problem and says Congress could provide a fix through the budget reconciliation process.

“This is a great time to boost funding, especially not only for CSP and EQUIP, but also the conservation technical assistance that farmers need in their local county offices to help them put in these good conservation plans through these programs.”

Happ says the report Closed out:  How U.S. farmers are denied access to conservation programs underscores that rising farmer demand to access programs that help build soil health and protect water quality is not being met.

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